July 2, 2013

Prag Mahal: Mahal ke bahar


Prag Mahal was the official abode of the Maharaja of Bhuj before the disastrous 2001 Bhuj Earthquake. There are cracks crashing across walls, chipping paint, crumbling structures, make shift furniture, barricaded areas, gloomy corners, faded mirrors and everything which shouts – IT is History

But post this disclaimer you cannot help but see the glimpses of old glory – the majestic heights, clock tower, sandstone pillars, jail windows, room size mirrors, ornate structures, royal paintings, wood carved furniture and hunting victories. Today we will explore the exteriors of the silent and crumbling Prag Mahal – standing tall and strong, drunk on its ancient glory.


Birds circling across the clock tower like checking the time for sun setting and returning home.   

This must have been one grand entrance to the Mahal, heralding the beginning of an era. Now of course it says much less.

Intricately carved Jali windows, probably for the women folks in early times, watching the history unfold from behind their hidden corners - silently and elegantly. 




Stone carvings of the Mahal lie in one corner, probably waiting for restoration.

Devastated wall structures hung on wooden pillars and the covered water well, shows the ruins but the ghosts of past glory are not ready to leave this place yet.


But I have one belief that if pretty birds come to sit and rest - that place is definitely beautiful. These chatty parrots are a testimony to the ethereal beauty of this palace. 

On one side of Prag Mahal is ‘Aina Mahal’ or the Hall of Mirrors which surprisingly escaped the devastation of the earthquake. The carved sandstone wall at the entrance is just a crumb against the glittering mirror work, colorful stain glass and exquisite carvings running across the walls, windows and doors – creating a beautiful illusion for the eyes. Anyone who enters would feel no less than the royal king queen of the palace. If Pragmahal is the King’s court then – Aaina Mahal is what a Queen’s chamber would be. It’s well preserved and kept, and with NO photography rule I could not capture the breath taking beauty of the palace. But it’s the kind of stuff - DREAMS are made of.


Outside Prag Mahal is the local Bazaar with vegetable and flower Mandi on one side, and unique curio shops on the other. We discovered two special shops here – a silversmith who created silver jewellery (hair clips) and utility (ear cleaners) of the olden times and another artifact dealer with a collection of Kutch handicrafts as well as vintage items. And you bet we did pick a few items for our collection.

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